Ekokem has built a Circular Economy Village in Riihimäki. Materials included in municipal waste will be processed further through the Eco Refinery, Finland’s first Plastic Refinery and the Bio Refinery. The Circular Economy Village is a unique concept, in which the best possible form of recycling has been developed for every waste stream together with Biotehdas Oy.
The Eco Refinery will take municipal waste and separate about 37% of bio-waste, 10% of plastic and 3% of metal from it. In the Circular Economy Village, the recycling rate of municipal waste will rise to 50 per cent and the utilisation rate to 98 per cent. 100,000 tonnes of municipal waste will be treated at the plants each year.
To be completed in 2016, the Ekokem Circular Economy Village located in Riihimäki, Finland is a big step towards the realization of the circular economy. During the construction phase the Circular Economy Village provides around 100–160 full-time equivalents of employment and, once completed, will have 20–30 employees.
The Bio Refinery will use bio-waste to produce biogas for transport purposes. It can also recover nutrients, such as nitrogen. An estimated 400,000 tonnes of bio-waste has previously remained unexploited from municipal waste every year. If it was all processed at a plant such as the Bio Refinery, the production of energy would equal the annual consumption of 12,500 detached houses.
The Plastic Refinery will process not only plastics separated from municipal waste but also separately collected household plastic packaging. At the refinery, the plastics will be separated, crushed, washed and granulated. The plastics will be redirected back to the plastics industry as raw material to replace virgin raw materials. Recycling plastic takes only about 15% of the energy that is required to make plastic.